The story of Maroon 5 in 10 songs, from ‘Sugar’ to ‘Moves Like Jagger’

One of this year’s biggest musical tours is that of Maroon 5. The best-selling pop group had played their hits in the United States and Latin America before arriving in the Middle East this week.

Led by singer and former The US voice Mentor Adam Levine, Maroon 5 took to the stage at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Friday as part of their tour, which also included a jaw-dropping show at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt on Tuesday.

Talk to The National ahead of their Abu Dhabi gig, keyboardist PJ Morton said the band aimed to please with a set list packed with back-to-back hits.

“We were able to put together a new post-pandemic set list that is very joyful and allows for a great time,” he said. “I think that’s what we need after being closed for so long. We all need that.”

With Maroon 5 celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut single, Harder to breathethis year, here are 10 songs that sum up their journey from failed musicians to one of the biggest pop groups in the world.

1. ‘Soap Disco’ (1994)

Maroon 5 formed from the ashes of former band Kara’s Flowers.

Featuring Levine, guitarist Jesse Carmichael, former bassist and drummer Mickey Madden, and drummer Ryan Dusick, the band had a bolder, rockier sound more comparable to bands such as Oasis and Weezer.

Disco Soap was one of their first singles and although it did not chart, the exuberant melodies and catchy chorus boded well for the band’s next incarnation.

2. “Harder to Breathe” (2002)

In 2002, now called Maroon 5, the band released their first single. It turns 20 in July and it remains timeless.

The strident guitar riffs carrying the track also indicate that the new outfit hasn’t totally ditched Kara’s Flowers sound.

New here is the lighter touch in Levine’s vocals, which has led to the band being compared to hit pop-funk bands Jamiroquai and Stevie Wonder.

3. “This Love” (2004)

It was the time when albums had a longer shelf life, meaning singles from the collection could be released up to two years after the album.

Such was the case with This lovewhich topped Maroon 5’s 2002 debut album, Songs about Jane, and the band’s incessant touring schedule.

The faded mid-tempo ballad was pure delight to the ears and became a radio mainstay, landing the band with their first US No. 1 single.

4. “Makes Me Wonder” (2007)

The band went funky for the first single from their second album, It won’t be for a long time.

Along with brand new pop music stars Maroon 5, the band used that success to fund this flawlessly produced track, full of zipping keyboards and dancing bass lines, all carried by another dynamic vocal performance from Levine.

The song won them a Grammy Award the following year for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

5. “Hands everywhere” (2010)

Three albums in, and Maroon 5 have, for better or worse, established their pop and RnB sound suitable for commercial radio.

hands everywhere gave fans what they wanted and shot straight to the top of the US charts.

6. “Moves Like Jagger” (2011)

Songs referencing other singers can succumb to cringe – the awful Do it with Madonna by The Androids – but Maroon 5 succeeded with this steamy summer jam.

Such is Levine’s vocal command, lascivious crooning in the verses and irresistible falsetto in the chorus, that you’ll almost forget Christina Aguilera’s solid contribution towards the end.

The man referenced, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, endorsed the track.

In an interview with BBC Radio in 2011, he described Moves like Jagger as “very flattering”.

7. “One More Night” (2012)

The band freshened things up by adding a looping reggae bass line to this silky pop track.

This is also the year the band’s newest member, keyboardist PJ Morton, joined. He demonstrated why he was a smart choice by adding vibrant color to the sonic mix.

One more night became an international hit and topped the charts in a number of territories in the United States and Europe.

8. ‘Animals’ (2014)

At this point, Maroon 5 was all about dominating the charts.

To achieve this, the group’s lead songwriter, Levine, expanded his network of collaborators to include EDM DJ Benny Blanco and Swedish producer Shellback.

The trio whipped up this slinky track accompanied by a chilling music video inspired by the 2000 horror film American psycho.

9. “Sugar” (2014)

While Maroon 5 has been a mainstay in the upper echelons of the charts for two decades, it’s with Sugar that they finally had a track that could be considered a timeless pop classic.

This breezy disco jam has an absolute chorus that will have you singing right away.

It’s also aided by a bright and cheerful video of the band cruising around Los Angeles and playing surprise slots at people’s weddings.

10. ‘Memoirs’ (2019)

Despite the band’s success, critics never really warmed to Maroon 5’s mish-mash of styles, but the stark reviews leveled at this track are unwarranted. Memories is a tender ballad about cherishing the people we love and the experiences we share.

The track, understandably, took on more resonance in the face of the pandemic and has now become a cornerstone of their latest world tour.

Updated: May 07, 2022, 05:45

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